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Heflin City Council updates COVID-19 policy

Heflin Council

Mask-wearing and social distancing are in practice at the Heflin City Council work session and meeting Tuesday night at City Hall. 

HEFLIN The Heflin City Council updated its COVID-19 policy Tuesday night during a combined meeting and work session. 

The council voted unanimously to add wording to the policy the city created in March when dealing with employees exposed to COVID-19.

According to Kim Stone, Heflin city clerk, the city will adhere to the most up-to-date CDC guidelines pertaining to any employee with a known exposure. The council discussed how the guidelines from the CDC are constantly changing and the policy needed to be updated.

Councilman Shannon Roberts wanted to pass a resolution applying to city employees but it died for a lack of a second.

The resolution, according to Roberts, would require city employees without personal protective equipment to receive a COVID-19 test if they came within five feet of someone known to have the virus. The employee would have to take off from work until he receives a negative COVID-19 test or time suggested by the CDC following a positive test.

In other business the council voted unanimously to certify three council members to the council who are running unopposed in the upcoming municipal election on Aug. 25. Travis Crowe from District 1, Rhonda Green from District 5 and Rhonda Heard from District 2 were certified by the council in a series of resolutions.

The council also voted to name all of the election officials for the municipal election.

The council voted to move the date of its Aug. 25 council meeting to Aug. 24 because the meeting would conflict with the election. 

During the work session which was after the formal meeting, the council discussed the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2021.

Mayor Rudy Rooks said the city’s current financial situation is tracking very well.

“I know we will come under budget because of employees we didn’t replace,” Rooks said.

Rooks said the city was able to put money into its debt service, reserves and capital improvement fund. 

Councilman Roberts said it was good that the city could put the money into reserves to improve the city’s bond rating which took a hit recently dropping from an A to BB+.

According to a S&P Global rating summary, the reason for the downgrade was due to a “precipitous deterioration in Heflin’s financial metrics, including a drastic reduction in liquidity to levels we consider very weak.”

Rooks said the reason for the downgrade was that the city had emptied its reserves with all of the roofs it’s had to replace in recent years and “everything we we’re spending on.” 

Roberts said in that he hopes the city can build up a two-month reserve in the future.